The Namibian National Student Organisation (Nanso) has played a significant role in student activism, and established itself as more than just a student organisation, as it caters to scope outside academia, including psychosocial support.
Spokesperson Esther Shakela said this on the occasion of the student body celebrating 37 years of existence.
She said the organisation has changed the face of student activism beyond fighting an institution of higher learning or particular school, but established itself as a fundamental bridge in building the Namibian house, becoming a valuable contributor to the overall development agenda of the country.
“Nanso does not only fight for the rights of students or learners to go to school but is involved in the wellbeing or welfare of students, and going as far as offering psychosocial support,
leadership seminars, among others,” she told Youth Corner.
Shakela added that this has been demonstrated through the fibre of leaders who have been produced through its ranks, an experience that moulds young Namibians and enables individuals to penetrate in other spaces when it comes to leadership.
“Nanso plans to professionalise youth work to ensure young people are capacitated to contribute and enhance the sustainable development of the country,” she noted.
Founded on 4 July 1984 at Döbra, the organisation continues to apply itself to an extent of supporting Namibian students pursuing studies abroad.
Fondly referred to as the university of leadership, the organisation has moulded a young cohort of Namibians, who now find themselves at government leadership level, including deputy information minister Emma Theofelus and member of parliament Patience Masua.
First female elected president Ester Simon said apart from the general aim of representing and fostering the interests of the overall student populace, Nanso’s importance is much more premised on amicable, robust and meaningful contributions to the social upliftment of students and learners.
“The aim has always been to ensure that students and learners’ interests take centre stage.
“Student organisations, Nanso to be specific, is a university of leadership! It moulds and grooms leaders, who visibly contribute largely to national development,” shared Simon, who led the organisation from 2017 until 2019 when Simon Taapopi took over.
One of the notable achievements of the organisation was mobilising students within the country to wage war against an education system that placed them at a comparative disadvantage as opposed to students of other races.
Also at the helm of the organisation was All People’s Party leader Ignatius Shixwameni, environment minister Pohamba Shifeta, Erongo governor Neville Andre, and many others.
Shifeta, who was Nanso leader in 1995, said transformation is key and the organisation is still relevant to date, although the attention has shifted, and the honours and responsibilities now lie with the students and learners to take education seriously.
“Students must know that they have obligations to study because things have changed and the fights are different now. You can go to any school, unlike the past where everything was based
“They must study hard. Do not waste resources. Use that opportunity given to you; don’t squander it. Make sure your potential is discovered,” said Shifeta.
He said as former leaders, their offices are always open for input, and young leaders should feel free to seek guidance.